How to recycle motor oil containers

Written by ty flowers
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How to recycle motor oil containers
Changing the oil in your car poses a potential environmental hazard in your own driveway. (Oilfield Pump Jack in Texas Oil Patch image by Doodlebugs from

When you change the motor oil in your car, dealing with the mess can be a serious hassle. After you finish putting the new oil in, you're left to deal with an oil-slicked plastic container (Or 4 oil-slicked plastic containers if you used quarts instead of a gallon jug). The plastic on these containers typically sports a No. 7 recycling symbol on the bottom of the jug, so few cities will allow you to put the container out with the rest of your cans and bottles.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

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Things you need

  • Used motor oil container
  • Rag or paper towels (optional)
  • Soap (optional)

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    Dispose of with Normal Recyclables

  1. 1

    Look at the bottom of your oil container for a number inside a recycling symbol (a triangle made of arrows).

  2. 2

    Contact your county's local recycling centre or department of public works, and ask them if you can recycle plastic with a number like the kind on the bottom of your container.

  3. 3

    Clean the container with a rag or paper towels and rinse it out with dish soap and water, if you can recycle the container in your county. Place the container in your recycling bin with your other recyclable containers and put the container on your curb whenever your county collects its recycling.

    Alternative Method for Recycling Oil Container

  1. 1

    Look in a local phone book to determine the location of a nearby auto parts store. Stores such as AutoZone and Advance Auto Parts offer free recycling of oil and oil containers.

  2. 2

    Call your local auto parts store to verify that they offer free oil recycling.

  3. 3

    Take your used oil container (it can be full of used oil) to a nearby auto parts store and ask an associate where their oil recycling area is. Typically it is a drum in the back of the store.

  4. 4

    Dump the remaining oil into the used oil drum, and place your used oil container in the recycling container that should be next to the used oil drum.

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